The appeal of Cambodia is more than the beauty of its wild untamed lands, the temple ruins that dot the landscape, the iconic rice fields or even the tropical islands of the idyllic gulf coast.

The appeal of Cambodia is more than the sum of its parts, made possible in no small way by the people that live in this mysterious land – people that have endured bloodshed and tragedy and emerged with an unbreakable spirit that shines through.

Cambodia is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore somewhere completely different, the tranquillity of the ancient temples contrasting sharply with the horror of the recent past, colliding and creating a present that is full of the promise of the great times ahead.

The type of accommodation that you are looking for will depend entirely on the type of traveller that you are, it may be that you want to see as much of Cambodia as possible with a small budget or it may be that you have just one or two destinations in mind and like to experience as much luxury as you can. Either way modern Cambodia can deliver, as long as you do your research and have realistic expectations then you can have the stay of a lifetime.

If you want grand then look no further than Raffles Hotel in Phnom Penh, this colonial style hotel is filled with the quiet understated elegance and luxury of a time gone by, there really is no hotel to compare if you want your trip to Cambodia to be that little bit special.

As expected rice is the staple of the Cambodian diet, generally with less heat than is found in other Asian countries, sour tastes feature heavily and add a different dimension to the balance of flavours, stick to the local seasonal produce and you won’t go far wrong, although when eating street food try to avoid anything that is undercooked.

Some travellers like to take the opportunity to try the array of unusual dishes such as insects, bats and frogs, this is a great experience but remember to take care not to offend this polite nation who consider these foodstuffs to be staples of their diet.

Phnom Penh has a great selection of both international and Cambodian restaurants, for traditional Khmer food Malis on Norodom Boulevard is hard to beat – authentic food served outside at very reasonable prices make for a stand out experience. For a different cuisine altogether, Van’s Restaurant serves excellent French dishes in the most elegant of surroundings; fine dining in the country that you might least expect it.

You cannot visit Cambodia without taking the time to see the temple of Angkor Wat in the north of the country, part of one of the largest religious monuments in the world and the crowning glory in the ancient Khmer empire; this archaeological site is one of Asia’s most important and as such does become quite busy during the peak months of November to February, this however should not deter you from visiting this most amazing of attractions.

Head to the islands of the Gulf of Thailand for totally unspoilt island experiences, these islands remain undeveloped with acres of jungle, white sand beaches, tiny fishing villages and the occasional guest bungalow – if you want a true paradise then look no further.

December and January are the most popular times to visit as these are firmly outside the rainy season and humidity is at its lowest, the rainy season is quite lengthy running from May until early November.

However this doesn’t necessarily have to deter visitors, as the rains rarely last for more than a few hours at a time.